First Hand Insight of Australia’s Brutal Refugee Centres

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Navven Nave Ravi  journeyed to Australia seeking refuge from the trouble in Sri Lanka.

Upon arriving in Australia he found that this wealthy generally safe country was not going to provide him with the peaceful life he so badly yearned for and needed.

Drawing and writing poetry was an outlet for Navven while he spent 3 years at Nauru Regional Processing Centre and in Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation.

Now living in Perth these drawings and the poetry have given him an opportunity to share with others the painful experiences he endured in those 3 years locked up despite having committed no crime.

His book From Hell to Hell has already been launched in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth and the first print run of the book has sold out.

With the help of activists a crowd funding campaign has been set up to print 1000 more books.

On Monday April 18 I spoke to Navven on 4ZZZ’s AnarchyShow.

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Australia May Have Transferred Tamils to Sri Lankan Navy

 

THERE is speculation a boatload of Tamil asylum seekers has been handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy as the federal government continues its silence over the reported interception of two vessels.

CHRISTMAS Island local councillor Gordon Thomson has called on the federal government to confirm the accuracy of reports that asylum seekers had been transferred from Australian custody.

“It’s a very, very, very disturbing story, if it’s true,” he told AAP.

“That would be a quantum leap in ruthless bastardry by any government.”

The government has repeatedly refused to confirm reports that two boats have been intercepted by Australian authorities off Christmas Island.

One of the boats is reportedly carrying 153 Tamil asylum seekers, including about 30 children – many of them sick – while the other has 50 people aboard.

Refugee advocates say they have not heard from the Tamil asylum seekers since Saturday and they believe Australia is coordinating with the Sri Lankan navy to tow them back.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to say whether the boat was being taken back to Sri Lanka.

“I’m not going to comment on the operational detail of what happens on the water,” he told ABC Radio.

Further comment has been sought from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who refused to comment on Monday, saying that public curiosity was not the same as the public interest.

(Originally posted in the Herald Scum)

[Update 2 July 11am Sri Lankan Military Denies Boat Intercepted]

Click here for background on the Tamil Asylum Vessels Journey.

The government is trying to stay silent on the boat

 

Sri Lankan on Bridging Visa Committs Suicide: Morrison Uncaring

Leo Seemanpillai

The young man who was on a bridging visa set himself on fire on yesterday in Geelong.

According to refugee advocates his name was Leo Seemanpillai.

The 29-year-old Tamil man arrived in Darwin by boat in January 2013 and has been on a bridging visa since May 2013, living in Geelong.

The burn injuries affected 90 per cent of his body and he died this morning in The Alfred hospital’s burns unit.

Like many asylum seekers he had family in Australia.

Trevor Grant, from the Tamil Refugee Council, said the man had fled persecution in Sri Lanka in the later stages of the country’s decades-long civil war, spending time in an Indian refugee camp before arriving in Australia.

Grant said the man was frustrated at the lack of progress on his protection visa.

“He was very, very depressed about his situation, not knowing what’s happening to him.

“He feared if he went back [to Sri Lanka] … he’d be going straight back to jail and probably torture,” Grant said.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s statements on the incident reflect his detachment from the psychological effects of the Coalition’s harsh treatment of asylum seekers.

“I’m advised by my department that a man believed to be an illegal maritime arrival of Sri Lankan nationality suffered serious burns in an incident in Geelong yesterday morning, I understand he died of his injuries overnight.”

Mr Morrison said the man’s death was not caused by an assault, but refused to give further details.

Emergency services yesterday rushed to the Geelong suburb of Newtown in response to reports that a man was on fire near the intersection of Cairns St and West Fyans Street after 10.30am.

Police are investigating the incident.In April another Tamil asylum seeker who received a letter saying his protection visa application had failed took his own life.

In other news hundreds of asylum seekers on Christmas Island are involved in a hunger strike, the Refugee Action Coalitions says 7 people have sewn their lips together.

Mr Morrison confirmed that protests are continuing on Christmas Island, but refused to confirm reports that some asylum seekers have sewn their lips together.

 

 

 

Manus Island Update

  • Sunday an Iraqi man escaped from Manus Island Detention Centre by jumping over the fences. When he escaped, he ran into the ocean and tried to drown himself. He is still incredibly distressed and wants to kill himself, he is under constant watch with 2 officers with him at all times.
  • 62 days since the Syrians on Manus Island have been on hunger strike.

 

"G4S utilised personal protection gear but no batons or otherweapons were i situ":  Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Supplied

“G4S utilised personal protection gear but no batons or otherweapons were i situ”: Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Supplied

Papua New Guinea nationals attacked asylum seekers on Manus Island

Papua New Guinean nationals employed as security guards on Manus Island attacked asylum seekers at the detention centre more than 24 hours before Iranian Reza Barati died in a night of shocking violence, new footage shows.

The footage, obtained by Fairfax Media, shows the security guards attacking a group of asylum seekers who had absconded from the centre after being told they had no prospect of being settled outside PNG if their claims for refugee status were eventually recognised.

There are also images that show no action was taken to rope off the scene of Mr Barati’s killing before evidence was either compromised or completely cleared away, including the rock that witnesses say made sure he was dead.

The footage and images raise new questions about what was done to reduce the risk of violence at the centre and the adequacy of the subsequent investigation.

Location of Australia's off shore detention centres

The morning after the violence, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison reported that the centre would resume “normal operations” and maintained: “G4S utilised personal protection gear but no batons or other weapons were in situ and were in control of the centre for the entire period.”

But the footage clearly shows security guards throwing stones and other objects at asylum seekers seeking refuge in a room after being chased back into the centre by the guards.

Fairfax Media has also obtained images that show how the fence at the compound was pushed in by PNG nationals who entered the centre, allegedly enraged by offensive chants by asylum seekers.

They also show bullet holes within the complex at “stomach” level, challenging the assertion that the only shots fired were warning shots in the air; and they show damage to an asylum seeker’s door from a machete as asylum seekers say they were hiding inside.

Interviews with security guards support the emails of an Australian who warned colleagues that the detention centre was “totally unprepared” for any major incident, such as the violence of February 16 and 17, when Mr Barati died and more than 60 others were injured.

“The incidents at Manus Island are the subject of an independent review and police investigation”: Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Leigh Henningham

It was reported on the weekend that Paul Skillen, who worked as a G4S security supervisor at the centre, emailed colleagues in November expressing concerns that poorly trained workers were staffing the centre, which was “a tinderbox ready to ignite”.

The emails have been submitted to a Senate inquiry set up to investigate the violence at the centre.

Security guards who asked that they not be identified also claimed those managing security at the centre had been urged to develop a “dedicated investigative capacity”, but had failed to act.

They also accused security contractor G4S, since replaced by Transfield, of failing to conduct a skills audit of its staff. “They didn’t know who they had on the ground and who could do what,” one source said.

They also claimed:

  • The training of PNG nationals employed as security guards was totally inadequate, with the nationals unprepared to perform many of the duties assigned to them, including being part of an emergency response team.
  • Command and control on the night of the extreme violence was hampered because many security guards did not have radios. “Hardly anyone had a radio, regardless of what they say,” one said. “They ordered new radios in and they forgot to order spare batteries, so they get used for four or five hours then on charger for four or five hours. How can you control a riot when you’ve got no communications?”
  • Control on the night was also hampered because of a lack of torches when the power was cut to two compounds.
  • Acts of self-harm and attempted suicides were common at the centre. “The fortunate thing was that they are that crammed in that someone would raise the alert,” a source said.

Security guards and local residents also criticised the failure of those managing the centre to allow for interaction with locals that, they say, would have built a level of trust and goodwill and dispelled damaging rumours.

They also say the refusal to allow detainees any capacity to humanise their environments by growing plants contributed to the tensions. Asylum seekers were not allowed to have brooms to sweep their quarters because of concern that they could be used as weapons, a source said.

The decision to cover the view of the ocean with a screen to prevent media from taking pictures was also cited as a contributing factor.

A spokesman for G4S said the company would not comment in detail on individual allegations.

‘‘Suffice it to say it is not G4S’s role to investigate any crimes that may have been committed on Manus Island; that is the role of the PNG police, which has jurisdictional authority.’’

The spokesman said: ‘‘We are and will continue to fully co-operate with all investigations and reviews by the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.’’

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said he would await the outcome of an independent review and the police investigation before commenting further on the Manus incidents.

Rejected Tamil Asylum Seeker Self-Immolates

Janarthan the Tamil refugee who set himself on fire in Sydney after his appeal for refugee status was rejected by the Australian Government. Tamil diaspora speak out. Australian Government is murdering Tamil refugees.
Janarthan the Tamil refugee who set himself on fire in Sydney after his appeal for refugee status was rejected by the Australian Government. Tamil diaspora speak out. Australian Government is murdering Tamil refugees.

 

A young Tamil asylum seeker is fighting for life in a Sydney hospital after setting himself on fire because his application for a protection visa was rejected by the Immigration Department.

Reports are the man finished a three-hour cleaning shift at Balmain’s shipping yards last night, then went outside, doused himself with petrol and tried to take his own life.

Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Trevor Grant says the man is in a critical condition in Sydney’s Concord Hospital, with burns to most of his body.

“There is some hope that he may survive,” he said.

“They’re trying desperately to get his 65-year-old mother to Australia to be at his bedside, along with his brother.

“But he’s already had a number of surgeries, skin grafts etc., and he’s apparently going to have more today.”

According to the government  the young man had arrived in Australia in June 2012 and was released into the community on a bridging visa in October.

In July 2013 he was found not to be owed protection and this decision was affirmed on appeal by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) earlier this month.

Mr Grant says the young man is one of many asylum seekers terrified of being sent home.

“This is really an inevitable outcome of a policy that is purposely designed to create suffering in order to deter people,” he said.

“This man has been one of some 20,000 in the community.

“They’re undergoing psychological torture not knowing what’s happening to them, living in fear every day of being returned to danger.”

WAR

The civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 after almost 26 years.

As is often the case around the world the roots of the conflict lie with the colonisation of the area known as Sri Lanka by the British.

The Tamil ethnic minority were fighting for an independent state Tamil Eelam, against the Sinhalese majority.

The Tamils lost the war and are still persecuted today.

“Three deceptive years after the first LLRC based US resolution, Tamils from the occupied homeland and the diaspora, with the support of the Tamil Nadu solidarity movement, clearly defined our problem as genocide and called for total liberation. We are changing the terms of the debate imposed on us and unambiguously call for a political solution that respects our peoples sovereign nationhood. In the coming year we will need to intensify our efforts and work closely with global civil society to end the occupation, the settlements, and secure the release of political prisoners/prisoners of war. Our work is cut out for us. We will assert our peoples rights. We will win.” ~ Krisna Saravanamuttu

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in September 2013 that there had been no comprehensive Sri Lankan effort to properly and independently investigate allegations of war crimes. The High Commissioner said she would recommend the Human Rights Council to set up its own probe if Sri Lanka does not show more “credible progress by March 2014.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted for a resolution paving the way for an inquiry into rights abuses at the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war.

The United States and the United Kingdom were among the countries, which sponsored a resolution that is for the first time calling for an international probe.

The Australian government (Labour and Coalition) continue to deny the genocide of Tamil people.

They have adopted the position that the Tamils were the aggressors, they lost the war and must now accept life among the Sinhalese majority.

However the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal found –

“On the strength of the evidence presented, the tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the state of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils and that the consequences of the genocide continue to the present day with ongoing acts of genocide against Eelam Tamils”, or those living in the north and east of the country.

 

Melbourne Tamils and activists came together in solidarity with the people of Tamil Eelam who are subject to physical and psychological torture by the Sri Lankan state.
Melbourne Tamils and activists came together in solidarity with the people of Tamil Eelam who are subject to physical and psychological torture by the Sri Lankan state.

 

Channel Four documentary revealing the truth which the Sri Lankan government tried to cover up.

‘Five years ago Dr Varatharajah Thariajah was given his freedom in exchange for refuting war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan government. Today he tells Channel 4 News a different story.’

‘I cried every day’: inside Sri Lanka’s ‘No Fire Zones’

The experience of Tamil Refugees